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November 6, 2018

Focus on women’s care can improve health system wellness, Part 3

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If you’ve read parts one and two of this series, you should have a good grasp of (and maybe a little trepidation about) the power of women when it comes to healthcare. The good news is there are ways to ensure that when women are making decisions about their care and that of their families, they choose you.

Access to Care

Part three: Put women in the center of care with tools and engagement

Providers that want to appeal to women (and want a share of the buying power women wield) must:

  • Engage women and build trust to a develop competitive advantage, and
  • Invest in services that will make it easier for women to access—and deliver—care

Build trust

Maybe because the burden is so large, women often lack confidence that they are making the right healthcare choices for themselves and their families. As a result, many of them (53 percent) turn to online searches for health information, but less than a third of them trust the information they find there.

Online telehealth tools that help women access high-quality healthcare information from a provider network they trust can help them feel confident in their decisions, and it can deepen the trust they have in their provider. For example, Providence Health Services offers a tool focused on women’s health to their patients. With advice on pregnancy and parenting, information about groups and classes, and access to virtual care, Providence has made it easy for women to get support they need and can trust.

Invest in Services

We know that women are often responsible for taking loved ones to see healthcare providers, and that they see doctors themselves more often than men do—for reproductive health issues but also because they are more likely to seek care for common ailments than men are. That means women make a lot of trips to doctors’ offices, hospitals, and clinics, and the time they spend driving, parking, and sitting in waiting rooms adds up.

Virtual care and telehealth options that let women access care privately from anywhere at any time—and from a doctor they already know—can save them time and frustration. While video visits can be an alternative to in-office appointments, they don’t offer the same immediate accessibility, nor are they available 24/7. Asynchronous (or store-and-forward) telehealth gives women the ability to get care for a sick child in the middle of the night or for themselves in the middle of the work day without the need for high-speed internet, a private space to speak openly, or booking an appointment.

Many industries and companies have made the mistake of trying to court female customers by slapping pink labels on everything, often with hilarious and disastrous results. If healthcare systems want to attract and keep female patients—and keep their own systems healthy—the best they can do is offer women services that fit within their lifestyles and make them better, easier, and more cost effective. A smart telehealth offering can do all of those things.

Author:

Julia Millard

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